I used to think Valentine’s Day was corny (and it is). But once I’d lived through a decade of Chicago winters, I was willing to try anything that might add some lightness to long, gray days. Yes, this gay grump embraced Valentine’s Day — and while making heart-shaped pancakes hasn’t cured my mental illness or repaired the harms of late stage capitalism, it’s made life a little more bearable. If you’re also living through a cold winter and are still aware of the global pandemic that’s been raging on for two years, you could probably use a little lightness, too.
Folks, let’s take Valentine’s Day by its fuzzy, pink horns and hold on for dear life.
If you want to go the heart-shaped-box of chocolates/ bouquet of roses/ candlelit dinner route, by all means, do it! Embrace whatever brings you joy. But if you’re looking for ways to spend V-Day with your friends, your partner(s) or yourself that feel a little less contrived, here are nine hot, creative ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day:
Write your own erotica.
Do you imagine yourself getting railed in the back of a hot butch’s pickup truck or do you fantasize about Eve and Villanelle finally (FINALLY!) putting their hands down each other’s pants? Write it down! You can do this solo or co-write with a partner (maybe “Exquisite Corpse”-style?). Once your story is complete, you’ll have a gift that keeps on giving while you give it yourself. And don’t forget to check out Autostraddle’s A+ S L I C K erotica series for inspiration!
Make playlists for your pals (or your crush).
Everyone loves to receive a playlist, and it doesn’t have to be Valentine’s Day-themed! A well-curated playlist is the perfect way to say “I love hot moms” or “wow remember folk punk?” or “sorry your ex is such a piece of shit.” If you want to be extra and your recipient owns a tape player, make a legit mixtape and decorate the cover like it’s 1996.
Make cards and send them to your friends.
Hear me out — I know that valentines are technically supposed to arrive at their destination on or before February 14th itself, but most people appreciate a special note no matter when it shows up in their mailbox. So spend Valentine’s Day itself making some valentines! Then throw some small prizes in the envelopes — people of all ages love receiving stickers and temporary tattoos.
Get together with a partner and paint nude portraits of each other (this tip comes from Autostraddle’s Community Editor Vanessa, who is a genius).
Break out the art supplies — this is your chance to live out your very own Portrait of a Lady on Fire or Titanic fantasy! Alternatively, you can spend some time gazing at your own hot bod in the mirror and paint a nude self-portrait. Keep it for yourself or give it to someone else who longs to see you naked.
Host an at-home love song karaoke party.
Search YouTube for some epic torch song karaoke tracks and sing your heart out with your partner(s), with your friends or solo. Check out Kayla’s recent list of the most romantic songs of all time to get some ideas. Also, belting out Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” alone in your apartment can be extremely helpful when your next therapy session is still five days away.
Enjoy some elaborate masturbation.
Even if you’re in a relationship, you deserve to take yourself on a Valentine’s Day date that includes some hot sex with yourself. Set aside a solid chunk of time, light some candles, break out all of your favorite sex toys, read through that erotic story you wrote and enjoy. For more detailed instructions and ideas, check out Vanessa’s guide.
Dub a rom com.
This one’s for the silly gays who know how to improvise. Gather some friends, watch a scene from your favorite rom-com, mute your TV, assign characters and create your own dialogue. Don’t forget to record it so you can laugh at it later.
Buy some hot queer porn and enjoy it solo or with a partner (OR have a watch party).
If you watch porn, you probably do it alone or with a partner, but it’s also fun to eat snacks with your friends and watch people fist each other like it’s sports. Through February 28th, you can get 15% off on videos from PinkLabel.TV and CrashPad if you enter the code LOVETOWATCH at checkout.
Plan some role play that involves lot of build-up.
If you and your partner(s) enjoy role play, Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse to take it to the next level. If you’ll be apart during the day, send each other texts or emails as your role play personas until you see each other in the evening. If you’re into teacher/student stuff, give your partner a “homework assignment” to complete before your date. Meet up somewhere as your role play personas before you go home together. The possibilities are truly endless, and you can even do it with your long-distance lover. Oh, and don’t forget to wear a costume.